Last night on ABC evening news, Diane Sawyer asked the question “When is the most dangerous time for a patient to enter the hospital?” and of course the answer was, “During the month of July when the new interns arrive.” Every nurse who ever worked in a teaching hospital knows that.
When the TV doctor offered his advice, he said, “The patient has to have an advocate, ask questions, and stay informed about their treatment.”
As I listened I thought, Okay, his warning is right– but that would require that the patient or advocate have a medical or nursing education because otherwise they wouldn’t know the right questions to ask.
And so it is that medicine is still shrouded in jargon and mystery. And nurses still have to act as advocates. But with the business of health care, and the worry about the bottom line, where are we? Not at the bedside, but at the desk, covering for the business of hospitals, learning insurance codes, and doing documentation.
The very reason I wrote “The Nurse’s Story,” while I was working in the trenches was to give patients information, to give them some power to protect themselves. And that’s the reason I’m setting up this blog.
I’d like to ask a favor of all nurses now (and of course any doctors who are willing to help.) If each of us could suggest one question our patients should ask, we could empower and help protect them. After all, if we don’t, who will?
Please add your voice to this issue. Leave a comment and tell me what you think! Please post the question/s you think are most important to ask as a comment below.
Sometimes a question is the most important healing tool.